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Sampling and Data


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Figure 1.3

Solution 1.10 This pie chart shows the students in each year, which is qualitative data.

1.10 The registrar at State University keeps records of the number of credit hours students complete each semester. The data he collects are summarized in the histogram. The class boundaries are 10 to less than 13, 13 to less than 16, 16 to less than 19, 19 to less than 22, and 22 to less than 25.

Figure 1.4

What type of data does this graph show?


Qualitative Data Discussion

Below are tables comparing the number of part-time and full-time students at De Anza College and Foothill College enrolled for the spring 2010 quarter. The tables display counts (frequencies) and percentages or proportions (relative frequencies). The percent columns make comparing the same categories in the colleges easier. Displaying percentages along with the numbers is often helpful, but it is particularly important when comparing sets of data that do not have the same totals, such as the total enrollments for both colleges in this example. Notice how much larger the percentage for part-time students at Foothill College is compared to De Anza College.

De Anza College Foothill College

Number Percent Number Percent

Full-time 9,200 40.9% Full-time 4,059 28.6%

Part-time 13,296 59.1% Part-time 10,124 71.4%

Total 22,496 100% Total 14,183 100%

Table 1.2 Fall Term 2007 (Census day)

Tables are a good way of organizing and displaying data. But graphs can be even more helpful in understanding the data. There are no strict rules concerning which graphs to use. Two graphs that are used to display qualitative data are pie charts and bar graphs.

In a pie chart, categories of data are represented by wedges in a circle and are proportional in size to the percent of individuals in each category.

In a bar graph, the length of the bar for each category is proportional to the number or percent of individuals in each category. Bars may be vertical or horizontal.

A Pareto chart consists of bars that are sorted into order by category size (largest to smallest).

Look at Figure 1.5 and Figure 1.6 and determine which graph (pie or bar) you think displays the comparisons better.

It is a good idea to look at a variety of graphs to see which is the most helpful in displaying the data. We might make different choices of what we think is the “best” graph depending on the data and the context. Our choice also depends on what we are using the data for.

(a) (b) Figure 1.5


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Figure 1.6

Percentages That Add to More (or Less) Than 100%

Sometimes percentages add up to be more than 100% (or less than 100%). In the graph, the percentages add to more than 100% because students can be in more than one category. A bar graph is appropriate to compare the relative size of the categories. A pie chart cannot be used. It also could not be used if the percentages added to less than 100%.

Characteristic/Category Percent

Full-Time Students 40.9%

Students who intend to transfer to a 4-year educational institution 48.6%

Students under age 25 61.0%

TOTAL 150.5%

Table 1.3 De Anza College Spring 2010